CONCORD, NH – The Concord School District abruptly canceled school Monday after a flood of teachers and other district staff reported sick a day after many received the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine.
Parents in district SAU 8 received phone calls, emails, and text messages notifying them that there would be no school just before 6:30 am. The alerts indicated that it was due to the level of absenteeism of teachers throughout the district. The decision was made when principals began receiving calls from educators early Monday saying they were sick.
However, school superintendent Kathleen Murphy said the shutdown was more than just teachers: Many staff members, including district office employees, also received vaccinations Sunday and reported adverse reactions.
“It was related to vaccinations,” he said of the school closing on Monday. “We received a notice from various staff members, teachers, education assistants, and district personnel that we were ill, so we were unable to safely open the school.”
All staff members who were vaccinated received the single-dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine.
After the district posted a note on Facebook on Monday, several community members also shared thoughts about their own reactions to the vaccine.
“I received the vaccine because I am (in) medical care and I can tell you that I received the 2-part vaccine. After the first, it’s like you have the flu. The second gives you 6 times worse.” said a woman.
Another sign read: “I got it yesterday at 9:30 AM and this morning at 2 AM, I felt like I was hit by a Mac truck! It hits everyone very differently.”
One commenter suggested it was poor planning by the district, but educators and staff couldn’t choose when to get their shots; They were given appointment times when they signed up. Murphy said many district staff members were also scheduled to get vaccinated next Sunday, which is something he will study in an effort to avoid another day of school canceled due to vaccination reactions.
Some Hopkinton residents informed Patch that the school was also canceled in their community on Monday. No reasons were given. Under the school closings for the day, WMUR-TV only listed the Concord and Hopkinton school districts. Only one school was closed in Hooksett. According to the district’s website, the shutdown was due to a power outage.
Employees of the Merrimack Valley School District and the Pembroke School District were also vaccinated in Concord on Sunday. MVSD has a professional day scheduled for Monday, so school was already closed for that day.
Patch has since learned that teachers and staff at Bow were also struggling, according to alerts, and the district asked parents to have their middle and high school students be remote Monday “due to the number of staff outside of our vaccination massive “.
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